Speaker Biographies

Our Headline Speakers

Professor Bola Owolabi, Director of the National Healthcare Inequalities Improvement Programme at NHS England

She works as a General Practitioner (Family Physician) in the Midlands region of England.

She is Honorary Professor at the Institute of Applied Health Research, College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Birmingham UK.

Bola has particular interest in reducing healthcare inequalities through Integrated Care Models, Service Transformation and using data & insights for Quality Improvement. She spearheaded NHS England’s Core20PLUS5 approach to narrowing healthcare inequalities.

She was until recently, National Specialty Advisorfor Older People and Integrated Person Centred-Care at NHS Englandwhereshe led the Anticipatory Care Workstream of the National Ageing Well Programme. She has worked with teams across NHS Englandand the Department of Health and Social Care as part of the Covid 19 Pandemic response.

She is an alumnus of Ashridge Executive Education/Hult International Business School and holds a Masters degree with distinction in Leadership (Quality Improvement).

She holds an NHS Leadership Academy Award in Executive Healthcare Leadership for Clinicians.

Lisa Nandy MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Lisa Nandy MP has represented Wigan since her election in 2010 and currently serves as Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. 

Before entering Parliament, Lisa worked for Labour MP Neil Gerrard and as a researcher for the youth homelessness charity, Centrepoint. She went on to work as senior policy adviser for The Children’s Society and served as a Labour councillor in Hammersmith.  

During her time in Parliament, Lisa has served on the front bench in a number of roles, including Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Shadow Children’s Minister and Shadow Minister for Civil Society. Lisa was also the co-founder and director of the think tank Centre for Towns, which was set up to ensure equal attention be given to the viability and prosperity of Britain’s towns. 

Kim Leadbeater MP, Member of Parliament for Batley and Spen

Kim Leadbeater is the Labour MP for Batley and Spen.  She was elected in a July 2021 by-election with the narrow majority of 323 votes. Leadbeater is sister of Jox Cox, the former Labour MP for Batley and Spen, who was murdered in the constituency in June 2016.

Born in 1976, Leadbeater grew up in Batley and Spen.  She attended the local Heckmondwike Grammar school, before studying at Leeds Beckett and Huddersfield Universities.  She has a PGCE.

Prior to being elected to Westminster, Leadbeater had worked locally as a personal trainer, and as a sorts teacher at  Bradford College. The college subsequently renamed its café, as the Jo Cox Café.

More recently Leadbeater served as an ambassador for the Jo Cox Foundation and head of the ‘More in Common’ community volunteer group in Batley and Spen. She was awarded an MBE in the 2021 New Year Honours list for her work on tackling social isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Professor Donna Hall CBE, Integrated Health and Care Systems Advisor, NHS England

Donna has been described as a “public service pioneer” by the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham.

She was awarded a CBE in 2009 for innovation in public service and was Transformational Leader in the Northern Powerwomen Awards 2017. She was CEO of Wigan Council for 8 years and developed The Wigan Deal – a new relationship with residents which delivered 160 million savings and improved services and resident satisfaction. She was also accountable officer for the CCG at Wigan.

She created another social contract with residents while CEO at Chorley Council – The Chorley Smile. She is a passionate feminist who championed “Believe in Her” and led a major equality change programme to ensure Wigan Council has a zero gender pay gap. She is now the chair of New Local and is an Integrated Care System advisor to NHS England. She was appointed as an Honorary Professor of Politics at the University of Manchester in August 2019 and is a Non Executive Adviser to Birmingham City Council. Adopted as a child she is passionate about person-centred public services and communities.


Pooja Agrawal, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, Public Practice 

Pooja is an architect and planner who worked as a public servant at Homes England and the Greater London Authority and at private practices including Publica and We Made That. She co-founded social equality platform Sound Advice and co-published Now You Know, a compendium of fifty essays exploring spatial and racial inequality. She is a Trustee of Open City, a Fellow at the Institute of Innovation and Public Purpose and a Fellow at the RSA. She was selected for the Planner’s Woman of Influence in 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022. 

Jon Alexander, Author and Co-founder, New Citizenship Project 

Jon Alexander is author of CITIZENS: Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us, and co-founder of the New Citizenship Project, a book and company committed to shifting the dominant story of the individual in society from Consumer to Citizen. Among other plaudits, CITIZENS was listed by McKinsey as one of its Top 5 Recommended Books in its Summer Reading Guide 2022.

Judah Armani, Writer, Maker and Educator 

Judah is a partner at The Royal College of Art where he heads up the Social Impact Studio within the Service Design Masters programme. He is an associate lecturer at London College of Communication, a senior researcher at Central St Martin’s Design Against Crime Team, and a visiting fellow at the Rhode Island School of Design’s strategic Center for Complexity. 

Judah is the founder of Public Service Design Practice, co-creating award winning initiatives that have been providing social impact and change for two decades. Judah Armani is the first designer in residence at Innovation RCA. 

Judah Armani live in Brighton and is a non executive director for the Internationally acclaimed Brighton Festival where he oversees inclusivity and diversity, for England’s biggest arts festival. In 2017 Judah launched ‘InHouse Records’ a multi award winning, rehabilitative, service, operating in multiple UK & USA prisons and continuing on the outside too. Increasing positive behaviour in prison by 428% and significantly reducing recidivism with a re-offending rate of less than 1%. 

Judah is a London Design Gold Winner 2018, D&AD Social Impact Shortlist Winner 2017, Design Spotlight Winner 2021 and iF World Design Social Impact winner twice, 2018 & 2021. Recognised by The Big Issue and The British Entrepreneur of the Year as being in the top 20 Social Entrepreneurs for 2019 & 2020 and winner of The Nat West Social Enterprise of the Year Award 2019. In 2021 Judah was awarded the Sir Misha Black Award for innovation in Design Education. 

Judah’s work has been published in national journals and his designs have been celebrated in both national and international press. His design practice has been B Corp certified for over a decade and has been awarded the B Corp Certification for Top 5% in the world for social impact in 2020 & 2022. He is committed to social innovation by improving lives together through creativity. 

Granaz Baloch, Environmental Justice Activist and researcher, Pakistan

Granaz’s interests are located in environmental justice and in gender discourse in Pakistan. She is focused on gender narratives in Pakistani media coverage of disasters. Her recent work included the case study of Environmental Justice – Mirani Movement. She has featured in the first Climate Change Heroes children book published by SOC Films. 

She is also writing a book on the entitled “glass of water and women”, on women and girls of Pakistan to make visible hidden stories of rape, sexual harassment and honour killing on the way of searching water. Her recent publications entitled ‘Sowing the seed of a menstrual revolution’, (Pan Macmillan 2022) portrays the experiences of women and young girls during menstruation in Pakistan. She strongly believes that women must be part of every policy agenda; impact of climate change on their lives and participation in decision-making processes and governance without any fear of gender discrimination. Apart from that she is a storyteller , community builder and facilitator (remotely). You can find her work here. 

Dr William Bird MBE, General Practitioner

William is passionate about getting people active. As a family GP in the 1990s, he pioneered the concept of social prescribing by setting up the first Health Walk scheme, closely followed by the first Green Gym. He quickly found that companionship and contact with nature were major driving forces in keeping people active. William is now a global authority on health and activity, and is an advisor to the World Health Organisation, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and Sport England. Recognising William’s contribution to health and physical, William was awarded an MBE in the 2010 Queen’s New Year Honours and as an Honorary Professor at the University of Exeter in 2021.  

In 2010, he set up Intelligent Health, an organisation that has a mission to build healthier, active and more connected communities. Intelligent Health’s flagship programme is Beat the Street, which sees communities transformed into a giant game where players achieve points and prizes by walking, cycling, and scooting around their local area. Beat the Street has had over 1.6 million participants worldwide to date and is backed by research which demonstrates sustained physical activity behaviour change. 

Tony Burton, Chair, Power to Change

Tony has worked in various leadership roles including the National Trust, CPRE and the Design Council. He also founded Civic Voice. His non-executive roles include The National Lottery Community Fund, Friends of the Earth, CPRE London, TCV, mySociety and Greenspace Information for Greater London.

Claudia Cheung, Programme Director, Bridges Outcomes Partnerships

Claudia is the Programme Director for the Stronger Families programme. Stronger Families provides access to a therapeutic intervention (Functional Family Therapy) for young people and families in Norfolk and Suffolk. The role is responsible for ensuring the Social Outcomes Contracts achieve their stated goals and objectives – helping young people stay out of care.

Before joining the BOP team, she was the Data and Impact Manager for a London-based charity delivering conflict management training to young people. Previously, she was a strategy consultant in a Social Innovation consulting firm in Singapore and has worked for UNDP China.

Claudia holds a Masters in Non-profit Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Global Studies from the University of Hong Kong.

Claudia Chwalisz, Founder and CEO, DemocracyNext 

Claudia led the work on Innovative Citizen Participation at the OECD, establishing the OECD’s evidence base with almost 600 examples around the world of sortition-based citizens’ assemblies, developing the OECD’s Good Practice Principles and Evaluation Guidelines for Deliberative Processes, and establishing an international network of pioneers at the forefront of democratic innovation. She also co-designed the permanent Paris Citizens’ Assembly and the world’s first permanent Citizens’ Council in Ostbelgien, Belgium, and wrote the seminal OECD paper on institutionalising deliberative democracy. 

Sarah Cooke, Programme Director, Kirklees Better Outcomes Partnership

Sarah is an experienced regional and national Contracts Manager with a demonstrated history of working in both non-profit and private sectors across Homelessness, Housing and Justice organisations. She has a passion for supporting rehabilitation and empowering individuals to achieve independence through innovative and asset-based services.

She began her career at Nightsafe as a volunteer supporting young people experiencing homelessness and over the last 20years worked with a number of charities and Justice organisations across the North including leading Shelters “Through The Gate”. She has been part of a number of ambitious pilots including Re-Unite, Greater Manchester Offenders Project, Female Offender Whole Systems Approach in GM and Transforming Rehabilitation. Nominated for UK Housing Award and winning a Northern Housing Award as part of GM Homes Partnership.

Polly Curtis, Chief Executive, Demos 

Polly spent much of her career at the Guardian where she reported on health, social affairs and education, before joining the lobby team as Whitehall Editor, writing about government and policy. She went on to be digital editor of the Guardian, then led newsrooms as Editor-in-Chief at HuffPost UK, a Partner at Tortoise Media and Managing Director at PA Media. 

Her book, Behind Closed Doors, an investigation into social services in England, was published by Virago in February 2022 and was a finalist in the Orwell Prize for political writing. In it, she sets a vision for a different way that the state and communities can work together to solve problems. She serves as a trustee of the Public Interest News Foundation, as well as a Non-Executive Director of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. Polly lives in North West London and has two children. 

Tim Davies-Pugh, Chief Executive, Power to Change

Tim is the Chief Executive of Power to Change, the independent trust established in 2015 that strengthens communities through community business. Tim joined Power to Change in 2021 as the Director of Strategy and Programmes, having previous held seniors roles at the National Lottery Community Fund, Office for Civil Society, Numbers for Good and as a Director of GLT partners a social sector consultancy.

Tim is a Board member of the SAFE Foundation and has previously held board positions at UnLtd, where he chaired their awards committee and Virgin Money Foundation.

Georgia Gould, Cllr for Kentish Town ward, Leader of Camden Council & Chair of London Councils

Georgia grew up in Kentish Town and attended Camden School For Girls. She stood as a councillor as she wanted to give back. As a local councillor, she has worked hard to win investment for local schools, community centres and libraries. She is passionate about opening up opportunities for young people in Camden. Elected leader in 2017, she has been focused on building new council homes, improving local services, tackling the climate crisis, opening up decision-making and supporting the community through Covid. She is committed to continuing to work hard for the community she lives in and loves.

Helen Goulden OBE, Chief Executive Officer, The Young Foundation

As Chief Executive Officer of The Young Foundation, Helen leads our multi-disciplinary team of researchers and innovators to support stronger communities across the UK.

Prior to joining The Young Foundation, she spent nine years at Nesta as Executive Director, supporting, funding and scaling innovation in civil society, social tech, government, arts and education.

Previous roles have included work within the private sector developing digital strategies and solutions for global corporate clients. She spent five years consulting in the Cabinet Office, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and then Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), developing national innovation programmes for local government and leading research and development for interactive TV public services.

Helen is also a Trustee of the Big Education Trust.

Helen was awarded an OBE for services to development of sustainable communities in the 2023 New Year Honours List.

Claire Hazelgrove, Community and Political Engagement Director, TPXimpact

Claire is Community and Political Engagement Director at TPXimpact. She leads their work supporting public sector and third sector organisations to bring the people they represent into the change-making process.

Claire’s previous roles include Director of Engagement at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, and Deputy Director of UK Field Operations for the Remain campaign in the EU referendum.She has worked in community, public-facing and campaigns roles for Shelter, Friends of the Earth, the Labour Party, and the global poverty-fighting ONE Campaign in the UK and USA.

Claire is also Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Filton and Bradley Stoke at the next General Election.

Bukola Joel, Project Manager, Centric Community Research

Bukola’s background is in Psychology (BSc) and youth and community work, both at the University of East London. She is the Founder of Beyond Braids CIC, a skills development workshop for young people aged 9-15 years old, where they use the art of hair braiding as a tool to engage young people in conversations about issues affecting their world. She has been involved in various youth projects and provisions within youth centres and mobile estates. She believes communities can thrive if educated and are empowered with the right tools to create the change they desire.

Victoria Jones, Programme Director, Norfolk Carers Partnership

Victoria is an accomplished programme development specialist with a proven track record of developing and leading on successful multi-site, person-centred programmes within the not for profit and statutory sectors.

Victoria comes with a 20 year career focussing on the design and delivery of beneficiary led programmes –  supporting the emotional well-being of service users living with long term chronic or life-limiting conditions and/or experiencing social disadvantage.

Kate Josephs CB, Chief Executive, Sheffield City Council

Kate Josephs CB joined Sheffield City Council as Chief Executive in January 2021, having spent 20 years in national government in the UK and United States. 

Kate’s career as a senior leader in the UK civil service included positions in HM Treasury; the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit; the Department for Education and the Cabinet Office.

Kate also spent time in Washington D.C. working for the US Federal Government during the Obama Administration, including as Executive Director of the White House Performance Improvement Council.

Kate grew up and went to comprehensive school in Doncaster, was educated at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, and lives in Sheffield with her family.

Immandeep Kaur,Co-Founder and Director, Civic Square 

Throughout her decade-long career, Immy has focused on convening and building community, the role of citizens in radical systemic change, and how we together create more democratic, distributed, open source social and civic infrastructure. Through this work she has discovered much about economic justice and broader injustices, the pivotal role of land and social/civic infrastructure in neighbourhoods, and the value extracted from communities through our broken investment models. It’s an ongoing journey of discovery, emergence and learning together. 

Immy is a Co – Founder and Director of CIVIC SQUARE. CIVIC SQUARE is a public square, neighbourhood lab, and creative + participatory platform focused on regenerative civic and social infrastructure within neighbourhoods. Immy is part of a creative and dynamic leadership team who work alongside the local neighbourhood, to offer a bold approach to visioning, building and investing in civic infrastructure for neighbourhoods of the future. 

She is also an active member of Project 00.. Immy is part of the Doughnut Economics Action Lab Advisory Team, a Birmingham Hippodrome Trustee, a Birmingham Open Media (BOM) Board Member and an Inclusive Economy Partnership Board Champion, and the **National Lottery Community Fund Advisory Board.** Immy was a founding director of Impact Hub Birmingham, which was open between 2015 – 2019. Impact Hub Birmingham was on a mission to help build a fairer more equal and just city, through people place and open movements. On a voluntary basis, Immy also led and ran TEDxBRUM between 2012 and 2017. 

Immy’s work has been recognised with a series of notable honours and awards. In 2018, Impact Hub Birmingham was named a NESTA New Radical. For her services to the city of Birmingham, Aston University’s School of Life & Heath Sciences granted Immy an Honorary Doctorate in 2019. And in 2020, Immy was awarded a prestigious Ashoka Fellowship. 

Katie Kelly is the Depute Chief Executive with East Ayrshire Council

Katie Kelly is the Depute Chief Executive with East Ayrshire Council and her portfolio spans a wide range of services and cross cutting transformational topics including economic growth, community wealth building, community power, community led regeneration, Housing, net zero, workforce planning and wellbeing.

She has recently taken on the role of Senior Responsible officer for the Ayrshire Growth Deal. She has been employed in the public sector in Ayrshire for over 30 years working in various roles including Head of Housing, Communities and Transformation and in other sectors including community sport, health improvement, events, community planning, strategy and policy development and transformational change. 

Katie led and implemented the innovative Vibrant Communities approach as part of East Ayrshire’s Transformation Strategy.  Vibrant Communities represents a new and unique approach to the challenge of Public Sector Reform.  Working with, rather than for, communities the aim is to change culture and unlock the knowledge, skills and experience of local people and employees, to harness their enthusiasm, talent and ‘can do’ spirit which exists across East Ayrshire. 

Katie also previously spent 2 years seconded to NHS Ayrshire and Arran to set up the Community Health Partnership arrangements in East Ayrshire with a strong focus on co creating health and ensuring full engagement of patients, their families and wider communities in local healthcare.

Katie is passionate about working alongside people and communities, reducing inequalities, servant and collaborative leadership, coaching and mentoring approaches, community and workforce empowerment, community wealth building and helping to make a positive and lasting difference to people lives.  On a national basis Katie is an outspoken champion for Community Power, Community Wealth Building and Public service Transformation, is a currently an Expert Advisory Group Member on the Independent Review of Health Inequalities in Scotland. Katie represents SOLACE nationally for Equalities and Justice including innovative work on Gambling Harm and Violence Against Women and Girls. She is a member of the CORRA Foundation People in Place Observers group and is involved in a wide range of national networks and collaborations around Public Service Reform, Leadership Development and Community Power.

Claire Kennedy, Managing Director and co-founder, PPL

Prior to joining the public sector, Claire was a political consultant and communications expert with Westminster Strategy and Ketchum Communications, co-authoring reports with think tanks and advising clients on national-level policy development.

Since 2002, Claire has been working at the heart of the public sector improvement agenda. She has extensive experience of managing complex change projects across multiple service areas, and delivering benefits for customers and staff.

Claire co-founded PPL in 2007, and has led implementation teams across health, social care and voluntary and community sectors. Her current work involves working with local areas moving towards the development of accountable care. Her particular area of focus is in enabling leaders to connect across a system in a way that is authentic, and that creates strong practical working relationships at all levels. In addition to her academic background in organisational change, Claire is a qualified coach.

Claire is Vice Chair of the Board Member and former Vice President of the UK Management Consultancies Association. She is also a Fellow of the RSA.

Omezzine Khelifa, Executive Director, Apolitical Academy Global

Omezzine is a French-Tunisian former politician and social entrepreneur. Now the Executive Director of Apolitical Academy Global, she supports the growth and scale of the network and strengthens Apolitical Foundation resources to support and deliver for the Academies. She also leads upcoming project work on democratic innovations, bringing her wealth of experience as a former politician and political activist to the Foundation. 

After being part of the Tunisian Revolution in January 2011, Omezzine left a high-profile finance career in France to contribute to Tunisia’s democratic transition. She ran for parliament twice, managed national political campaigns, was elected to the political bureau of the social democratic party Ettakatol, and served as Senior Advisor to the Minister of Tourism then Finance in Tunisia’s first freely and fairly elected governments. Over the last eight years, she has created and run Mobdiun – Creative Youth: a social impact and peace organization that prevents violent extremism, inspires youth to lead change, and helps to build a peaceful democracy in Tunisia. 

Meena Kishinani, Director of Transformation, Birmingham City Council

As Director of Transformation at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Meena was responsible for one of the largest and most ambitious local authority transformation programmes within London. In 2015, presented with a large budget gap and a whole host of aspirations for local residents and businesses, Meena took on her new role – supporting the new Administration and Chief Executive to develop a new organisational wide transformation strategy and associated programme of exploration, design and implementation.

Previously Deputy Director for Children’s Services, and various other senior leadership in local government before that, Meena was able to bring her experience, skills and relationships to drive an unprecedented programme of change. Affecting over 3,500 staff, Meena led a multi-faceted programme of activity to deliver a new kind of council, one that would not just weather the storm of austerity but continue to be sustainable in the long term.

Meena has a 35-year career in local government and in May 2021, began a new chapter of her career as a Management Consultant.  Her first assignment has been with Birmingham City Council, the largest single local authority in the country, working alongside the newly appointed CE Deborah Cadman to drive forward an ambitious programme of transformation and change.

Dr Andy Knox, Associate Medical Director, Population Health, NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board  

Andy Knox is a husband, a dad and a friend. He is also Associate Medical Director in the Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB and a GP Partner at Ash Trees Surgery, Carnforth. His work is primarily focused on improving Population Health and tackling Health Inequalities. He is Population Health Associate at the King’s Fund, a member of the NHS Assembly, part of the Poverty Truth Commission, Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Health at Lancaster University and will soon be publishing his first book, ‘Sick Society’. He is impressively tall when sat down and has a ridiculously loud laugh. He is often found singing on walks with his Springer Spaniel around the beauty that is Morecambe Bay.

Kalvinder Kohli, Assistant Director Prevention and Early Intervention, Birmingham City Council

Kalvinder has worked across the voluntary and community sector and local government for over 25 years. She has led the number of programmes, strategies and commissioning activities focusing on prevention, earlier interventions, and asset- based community development. Kalvinder has led the Adult Social Care Directorates Prevention First Agenda supporting the delivery of the vision for Adult Social Care since 2017 which includes the development of the award – winning Neighbourhood Networks Schemes. Kalvinder currently leads the Council wide transformation programme moving from Crisis to Prevention to deliver the aspirations of citizens and communities.

James Lock, Managing Director, Opus Independents

James has over fifteen years of experience working cross-sector in a variety of project orchestration, development and delivery roles. His work at Opus is oriented around networked and platform responses to poverty, marginalisation, biosphere collapse, democracy and media reform. He is motivated by a deep curiosity as to how we entangle multi-disciplinary approaches in the face of the interlinked and compounding problems our societies face. 

James works on hyper-local community led projects in Sheffield and across South Yorkshire where he is based. He also works internationally across a variety of different networks and platforms for emerging system change. Better understanding of the new relationships and plurality of responses between the local and the planetary that are emergent in transitions is a core inquiry in his work. 

A grateful father of two young children, James continues to be enthusiastic and hopeful about contributing to a world which values all humans, is equitable, is ecologically restorative and which gives primacy to wellbeing, quality of life and discovery. 

James is a Co-Founder and Director at Opus Independents Ltd, a Trustee on the Board of Voluntary Action Sheffield , a Social Entrepreneur in residence at Hallam University, the General Secretary of the Independent Media Association, a supervisory board member of Citizen Network, a Co Founder of the Neighbourhood Democracy Movement, Now Then Magazine, Festival of Debate, Foundation Earth, UBI Lab Network and theThe River Don Project.  

Sarah Longlands, CEO, Centre for Local Economic Strategies 

Sarah is an expert in regional and local economic development and argues for economic and social justice and the creation of places which enable people to live good lives. 

Before joining CLES in 2021, Sarah was Director of IPPR North, the dedicated think tank for the North of England.  She previously worked for CLES until 2011 and began her career in local government, working in County Durham and North Yorkshire.  She has a PhD in Urban Studies from the University of Glasgow. 

Francesco Mellino, Senior Ecological and Wellbeing Economist, C40 Cities 

Francesco is the Senior Ecological and Wellbeing Economist at C40 Cities, a climate leadership organisation. His focus is on providing a progressive economic and policy narrative that supports the transformational change needed to keep global heating to 1.5°C and support equitable and resilient cities. 
He is the guest editor for the Special Issue on Ecological Economics of the Journal for City Climate Policy and Economy. 

Francesco also sits on the steering group of the Finsbury Park and Stroud Green Neighbourhood Forum, helping to develop a design code and a Neighbourhood Plan for the local community. 

Tiernan Mines, Co-Founder and CEO, Hello Lamp Post 

Tiernan Mines is the Co-Founder and CEO at Hello Lamp Post, the playful platform that helps people to meaningfully interact with their built environment, learn about its stories, and be part of its future. A leader in the UK start-up community, Tiernan has over 10+ years experience in launching new products and corporate strategies, and is dedicated to implementing tech for good that helps connect and empower citizens.

Prof Sadie Morgan OBE, Co-founding Director, dRMM  OBE, BA (HONS), MA, DU LSBU (HON.), FRSA, HON FRIBA 

Sadie Morgan OBE is a co-founding director of dRMM, a RIBA Stirling Prize-winning architecture studio. 

Championing design for over two decades, Sadie is involved in several advisory roles including chairing the Design Panel for High Speed Two (HS2) and acting as commissioner for the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC). She has been instrumental in setting up the NIC’s Design Group, which places design at the heart of major infrastructure projects. 

Sadie was made board member of the UK government’s housing accelerator, Homes England, in 2019, followed by a commissioner role on the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission in 2020. In 2021, she became a member of the Net Zero Building’s council.  

Sadie lectures internationally about her practice and the role of design in infrastructure and large-scale development. In 2013, she became the youngest president of the Architectural Association, followed by an honorary doctorate from London South Bank University and professorship at the University of Westminster in 2016. In 2021, she was awarded the visiting Sir Arthur Marshall Professorship in Sustainable Urban Design at Jesus College, Cambridge University.   

In 2017, Sadie became a Mayor’s Design Advocate for the Greater London Authority (GLA) and was named ‘New Londoner of the Year’ by New London Architecture (NLA). She has won the ‘Female Architectural Leader of the Year’ BD award and an ‘AJ100 Contribution to the Profession’ award. In 2020, she was awarded an OBE for services to design advocacy. Most recently, Sadie established the Quality of Life Foundation – an independent body prioritising wellbeing in the built environment. 

Alex Norris MP, Shadow Minister for Levelling Up 

Alex Norris has been the Labour and Co-operative MP for Nottingham North since June 2017. As part of Labour’s Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government team, he leads on Levelling Up. Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, Alex was a Nottingham City Councillor holding responsibility for Adults and Health and also worked as a Trade Union Organiser.  

In his spare time, Alex is a keen runner and Manchester City fan. 

Iain O’Neil, Managing Partner for Health, TPXimpact

Iain O’Neil is Managing Partner at TPXimpact. An experienced digital and technology leader, Iain has a proven track record of building multidisciplinary teams across government, in the NHS and the private sector. He believes deeply in the power of technology to transform services to improve peoples lives. 

Sebastian Payne, Director, Onward 

Sebastian Payne is the Director of Onward. He was previously Whitehall Editor at the Financial Times, where he also held the position of political leader writer and digital opinion editor. He is the author of Broken Heartlands and The Fall of Boris Johnson.  

Before he joined the Financial Times, he was a reporter and editor at The Spectator and The Daily Telegraph. 

Wietse Van Ransbeeck, Co-Founder and CEO, CitizenLab

Weitse co-founded CitizenLab, an e-democracy platform that enables governments for more inclusive, participatory, and data-driven decision-making, in 2015. Today, the platform is used by more than 400 local governments around the world, from national governments and large cities to the smallest towns. Wietse was previously named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe list for his work on bringing local democracies into the digital age.

Muhammed Rauf, Head of Business Development, Centric Community Research

Muhammed is a Community Researcher with a keen motivation to instil a competent level of financial literacy throughout his own network and across the urban locale. Throughout his foray working in a variety of industries, such as telecommunications, travel and financial planning, Muhammed discovered in his eyes that ‘hard work without understanding your own purpose is meaningless.’ Subsequently, Muhammed discovered a niche using the breadth of his skills to make a big impact in the social sector. He is currently paving the way in the rethinking of research and ethics, whilst also building firm relationships within the sector to further the impact and insight of the research projects that are underway. Muhammed now determines to ‘choose your purpose, it will not choose you’ in reference to having found a vocation that truly meets his values and his aspirations for himself as a man and his contribution to the community.

Ankita Saxena, Government and Enterprise, Social Finance

Ankita works with local and central government, VCSEs and enterprises to design and pilot locally rooted projects that improve outcomes for people and communities. She is an experienced learning partner, having worked with Southwark council to help rebuild trust with ethnic minority communities and tackle health inequalities, and supported 15 areas across the country doing systems change work for adults experiencing multiple disadvantage. Ankita is currently focused on improving skills provision and access to employment including for young people with SEND.

Mark Smith, Director of Public Service Reform, Gateshead Council

Mark Smith is the Director for Public Service Reform at Gateshead Council and the Senior Responsible Officer for Changing Futures Northumbria.  His focus is upon moving from a standardised, one size fits few approach to a bespoke-by-default model. His work on holistically supporting those with debt, who are homeless, are substance dependant, regularly offending or who are generally going through tough times goes hand in hand with developing a more flexible and purpose driven workforce. He has previously worked in policing, health and the charity sector to develop his approach to saving money by doing the right thing.  

Nadine Smith, Head of Government and Enterprise, Social Finance

Nadine is head of Social Finance’s Government and Enterprise team. She leads our work around partnership building and learning through programme and project delivery, drawing on a wealth of experience in public engagement, trust building, and transforming services. Nadine has spent her career working in and around government, including at the Cabinet Office as Head of Strategic Campaigns and Chief Press Officer, where she focused on understanding how government can listen and learn better, through work on social mobility, social exclusion, and public health. She was also founding director of Communications at the Institute for Government and a Director of the Centre for Public Impact where she founded the UK charity.

Victoria Stanway, Manager, PPL 

Victoria Stanway is a Manager at PPL. She is experienced in leading organisational change and development programmes in the public sector, including co-creating new ways of partnering with communities. PPL is a social enterprise, B Corp and consultancy that helps to power positive, lasting change.  

Professor Marc Stears, Director, UCL Policy Lab 

Marc Stears is an internationally regarded academic, political strategist, speechwriter and executive educator, who specialises in creating dynamic collaborations between academic researchers and broader society. Currently the inaugural Director of the UCL Policy Lab, Marc has previously been Director of the Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney,  CEO of the New Economics Foundation, Professor of political theory at the University of Oxford and chief speechwriter to the UK Labour Party. He enjoy a worldwide reputation as a leadership coach and communications strategist, having supported Board and Executive Committee members for major organisations including for some of the world’s largest companies. He is the author of several books from the world’s leading presses, including Out of the Ordinary published by Harvard University Press in 2021. Along with his co-author Tom Baldwin, he is currently completing a new book entitled England, Whose England? due out from Bloomsbury next year.

Professor Tony Travers, Director of LSE London

Professor Tony Travers is Director of LSE London, a research centre at The London School of Economics and Political Science. He is also a Visiting Professor in LSE’s Department of Government. His key research interests include local and regional government and public service reform.

Professor Travers is currently an advisor to the House of Commons Children, Schools and Families Select Committee and the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.

He has published a number of books on cities and government, including Failure in British Government: The Politics of the Poll Tax (with David Butler and Andrew Adonis), Paying for Health, Education and Housing: How does the Centre Pull the Purse Strings (with Howard Glennerster and John Hills) and The Politics of London: Governing the Ungovernable City.

He also broadcasts and writes for the national press.

Rich Wilson, CEO, Iswe and Founder, Involve 

Rich is the Chief Enabling Officer of the Iswe Foundation which builds people-power infrastructure. In 2004 he founded Involve, which under his leadership became a leading international centre for public participation research, innovation and policy-making. Since then he has been at the forefront of the global new democracy movement; most recently co-initiating the worlds first global citizens’ assembly, for the UN Climate Conference COP26; founding Good Help, on behalf of Nesta, the National Lottery and the Department of Culture Media and Sport (UK); and helped set-up the Funders Initiative for Civil Society supported by Open Society Foundation, Oak, Ford and others. 

Rich is a trustee of the Local Trust, which gives £1m to 150 of the most deprived neighbourhoods across the UK to help build their autonomy and power. He was a senior policy adviser to the UK government under the Blair and Brown government; and has been an adviser to the UNDP, WHO, OECD, EU and many national and local governments. In 2022 he received the Democracy Network Equality and Power award on behalf of the Global Assembly.

He has written many policy reports, blogs on the Guardian, DeSmog, Carnegie Europe, New Internationalist, Open Democracy, is author of the ‘Anti Hero’ book and is a Clore Social Fellow.

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